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  MSNBC Live With Kate Snow  MSNBC  February 20, 2017 12:26pm-12:31pm PST

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>> bill neely in moscow, thank you so much, bill. for more i want to bring in democratic congressman adam smith of washington. congressman, let's start with breaking news. i want to get your take on president trump's pick for national security adviser, lieutenant general h.r. mcmaster. >> well, he's, obviously, very well qualified. he's got great experience in the military. and i listened to what some of your guests said earlier. i can concur. he's certainly -- i mean, to say it's an improvement over mike flynn is an incredible understatement. now, you know, there's still the president, of course, and steve bannon and others in the white house to battle with, but it's good we have general mattis in charge of the defense department and now general mcmaster as national security adviser, because those are two very competent people who hopefully can rein in some of the more outlandish ideas of others in the trump circle. >> you mentioned steve bannon. are you worried as national security adviser, general mcmaster will not have the autonomy needed to do his job? >> yeah, i think that's the big
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concern. now, you know, we don't know what went on, you know, in terms of the negotiation. i would imagine that general mcmaster, you know, insisted upon full control. we'll see how that plays out. yes, that is the concern. to see how it plays out in terms of who's really calling the shots on national security policy. >> i want to talk a little about russia, as we have been saying this hour, looms large over this pick of mcmaster. earlier today, in fact, clinton campaign manager robby mook said russia could have been the reason clinton lost the election. is that something you agree with? >> the thing is, when you lose an election as narrowly as hillary clinton did, there's probably about two dozen different things that could have been responsible for it. probably were. any little thing that turned, you know, 20,000 votes in wisconsin, 15,000 votes in michigan changes the election. and there is no question the release of those e-mails within the dnc were very damaging to the clinton campaign. i think it's fair to say, if it
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hadn't happened, she probably would have won. but then again, like i said, there's another 15 or 20 different things, if they hadn't happened, she would have won. it was that close of an election. beyond that, the serious thing s a foreign power attempting to influence our election. russia must be held accountable for that. that's why i do not support lifting the sanctions. i've co-sponsored a piece of legislation with minority representative steny hoyer and others that's bipartisan requiring those sanctions to stay in place unless congress approves their lifting. i think it's very important that we don't allow them to get away with simply influencing our election. >> i know you're in your home district for this holiday. "the washington post" bob costa, who was just joining me, reported democratic congressman of new jersey arrived home to critics of president trump. it's not just republicans feeling the heat at these town halls across the country. what are you hearing from your constituents about the first month of president trump's administration? are they happy with what democrats are doing so far? >> i think so.
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my district is very democratic. 68%, 70% democratic. i don't know what percentage president trump got in my district, but i doubt it was over 25%. so, my district is very concerned about president trump and they want to see democrats step up and hold him accountable. and i believe we have done that. and we're doing our best. it would be a heck of a lot he's fer we had more democrats in the house, more democrats in the senate. but there are still things we can do. you know, we're doing them. we're going to hold him accountable and do everything we can to make sure that we limit the damage of some of the policies that he has proposed. >> you said it. i mean, he represents seattle, some of the surrounding area. definitely not trump country at all. is it especially political kryptonite for you or other democrats to work with the president? >> it depends on the issue. the problem is everything he's laid out is diameteric opposed to what i and my constituents
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want. i'm glad his labor secretary was knocked down but he still opposed to worker protection. he's opposed to environmental protection. and he has put forward a national security policy most of the times that i think is way too anti-muslim, way too anti-immigrant, goes against the grain of what's, i think, in the best interest of the country. so, if president trump were to come up with a policy, he's mentioned infrastructure, for instance. i'm skeptical as to whether or not he's going to do that. if he put a realistic infrastructure package on the table that could help our economy, that could build infrastructure, put people back to work. certainly. look, it's not a matter, we don't like president trump so we're not going to work with him. we don't like his policies so we're going to oppose them. if those policies change, if there are policies we can agree with, sure. thus far we haven't seen that. we're still patiently waiting. >> congressman smith of washington, open to common ground with the president, as well as on the pick of general